Back in 2000, I stumbled across a killer free program called Madotate. This program was years ahead of its time, in that it replaced Microsoft’s 2-D windowing model with a 3-D one. Now, I don’t mean “3-D” in the sense of “coming out of the screen” like a 3-D movie. Instead, Madotate takes individual windows and allows you to turn them sideways or lay them flat, instead of the usual “open” or “minimized”. Check out the screen capture on the left for an example (click the picture to enlarge it); in the picture, the open windows are (from left to right): Firefox, Internet Explorer, Azureus, PeerGuardian (just above Azureus), the AIM “Away” screen (to the right of Azureus), Microsoft Outlook and a Windows Explorer window.
Madotate was a great little program. It worked well, didn’t crash, and didn’t use a lot of system resources. Sadly, the program was written by a Japanese programmer named Takayuki Shinohara that didn’t seem to have a lot of time to work on it, nor did he seem to have many foreign friends that could translate the program into other languages. Over time, new versions of Madotate would pop-up on the web, only to slowly disappear as people grew tired of having websites and let their domain registration expire. As a result, Madotate can sometimes be hard to find – in fact, just the other day I read a mention of it at one of my favorite tech websites and spent a full half-hour of Google-Fu to find an updated version. This new version is, however, worth it. It supports scroll wheels (if your mouse has one), so you can use the wheel to move windows “closer” to you or “away” from you. You can also click and hold any window using the right mouse button and manipulate the window: you can flip windows around, make them lay flat, or place them in any 3-D position you want.
Madotate is simple to use. Simply download the ZIP file here and unpack it. Double-click on madotate.exe to start the program – once you do you’ll see an icon in the system tray and a new trapezoid icon in the title bar of all of you open windows next to the minimize\maximize\close buttons. Simply left-click on the trapezoid to “madotate” the window. As mentioned previously, you can right-click and hold to manipulate the windows, or you can use the left button to move the windows around (as you have always been able to do). To return to normal, simply right-click on the Madotate tray icon and choose “Exit”.
This is a neat little program, I hope you take a few minutes to check it out!
Click here to download Madotate 2.02.02
(389KB, zipped; 57 seconds to download via 56k modem)